“For a little while your people possessed your holy place, but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary.” -Is. 63.18
This passage speaks of the holy place and the sanctuary in Jerusalem itself, but there is much to be drawn from it for our spiritual enlargement.
If, on New Testament terms, Paul has declared that we are the “temple” or the “sanctuary” of the Holy Spirit, then we also have the high privilege of possessing our own souls and sanctifying them unto the Lord. He longs to dwell in the midst of His people, revealing Himself to us, and expressing Himself through us. This is something more than spiritual performance, religious playacting, or learning the proper words to say and the proper faces to make. Our appearance and reputation matter not one jot or tittle if the “holy place” of our hearts has been invaded by the spirit of the world, and “our enemies have trampled down” the sanctuary of the inner-man.
The writer of the proverb has instructed us along this way: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (4.23)
There is an intensity with which we must guard the inner-man, for the holy place of our heart is a tender place, and it can easily be trampled and flooded. It is our own responsibility to continually sanctify ourselves before the Lord, and to see to it that we are preferring His own life above our own. When at once you sink into your own wisdom and fail to possess and keep your heart before Him, the tenderness begins to harden, until eventually you have lost all touch with the reality of truth and love.
When our souls are dispossessed by untruth, when we cease to abide in the love of God, immediately the spirit of this age prevails and tramples the inner-man. This occurs not only in the overt moral failings of pornography, murder, and thievery, but also when we give ourselves over to a counterfeit kind of rest that is not the rest of God Himself. When we cease to guard that tender place of true union with God, we become brash towards others, speculative and suspicious, self-conscious, loose in speech, over-indulgent with money, entertainment and food, and many of the more subtle forms of compromise take the dominant place.
Our lives take on a cheap and synthetic nature, and the “springs of life” are replaced with something much more inglorious than that which the Lord has desired to give us. We may look Christian still, we may know how to put on a religious show, but we are giving up the holy place and allowing it to be trampled by the enemies of God. Our lingo may be correct, but anger, fear, and strife will have possession of our souls. Brethren, this is not the purpose of the Lord.
This trampling of the soul is the plight of all men without grace, but in the Gospel we are privileged and called to a life of abiding in the Son of God. You may only possess the holy place “for a little while,” but this is not your inheritance in Christ. Do not let your soul be trampled by the influences of this age, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life. Do not surrender your days or evenings to the enemy, dear saint. Let your heart be stilled before Him morning, noon, and night, and He will enlarge His own character and nature in your soul. The purity, tenderness, compassion and power of Jesus will become Your witness, and God Himself will be your portion and joy. Watch over your heart then, child of God.
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